I need help! This is the first few pages of my book. Please be honest and let me know if this is at all interesting or if I need a different starting point.
Hopes, Dreams, Prayers, Wishes: Our journey to become a family through open adoption
By: Nicci Rosted
“Nicci, what a beautiful wedding!” My uncle took my hand and twirled me around the dance floor at my wedding reception. “You make such a lovely bride. Wade is a lucky young man.”
I smiled. “Thanks, Uncle Jay. I’m so glad you could make it.”
Even though Wade and I are both from Michigan, we decided to get married in Kansas City, Missouri where we lived at the time. Most of our family traveled from Michigan to come to our wedding and it meant a lot to us.
“Oh, we wouldn’t miss it,” Uncle Jay said. “Looks like the rain held out for you too. Did you know it’s good luck to have rain on your wedding day?”
We had an outdoor wedding in a beautiful rose garden, so I was praying that it wouldn’t rain during the ceremony. It started pouring about thirty minutes after we got to the reception hall.
“I have heard that. I was actually hoping it would rain tonight. I have a friend collecting the rainwater in one of the champagne bottles. We’re going to use it to baptize our firstborn.”
“What a wonderful idea!” Uncle Jay surprised me with a dip. ”Speaking of that, when are you two going to start having kids?”
I laughed. “Not until we know we’ll survive Y2K! We want to have our first baby in the year 2000 and the second one in 2002.”
“Be careful saying things like that, God likes to laugh at our plans.”
My best friend, Brandi, was pregnant with her first child. She and I had always talked about having kids around the same age so they could grow up together. As I wandered the aisles of Babies R Us looking for the perfect gift from her registry, I couldn’t help but pick out what I would want for my baby, too. I found the sweetest cream colored bedding with a teddy bear, sailboat, and blocks. It would work well for either a boy or a girl and I just fell in love with it.
One day. I thought. One day, it’ll be my turn.
Wade and I had taken the ‘scenic route’ and we still weren’t finished with college yet. At the time, I was going to school full-time to become an elementary teacher while also working full-time as a server at Red Lobster. Wade was at Park University while working as a front desk manager at a Holiday Inn.
Wade’s boss had just sold us a house that he had sold on a land contract fifteen years prior. The people that lived there were hoarders and they just up and moved out, leaving a bunch of junk behind and the house in shambles. Wade’s boss didn’t want to handle the mess, so he gave us a great deal on it.
It was a small house, only 850 square feet, with two bedrooms and one bathroom, but it needed a tremendous amount of work. We rolled up our sleeves and got started.
I wrote the word ‘Hi’ on a taupe colored wall in the bedroom with a foaming cleaner. A few seconds later the foam dripped brown leaving a much lighter color underneath. “Oh no!” I called out to Wade. “I think the cleaner is taking off the paint in here!”
He came in and looked at it. “I don’t know if that’s paint or dirt.” The same color was on the walls in the other bedroom too, but that bedroom was also paneled half way. “Try spraying this wall,” Wade said.
I sprayed a heart on the wall and the same thing happened. “Look! The foam is removing the paint.”
“Hold on,” Wade grabbed a crowbar and removed the section of the paneling underneath where I sprayed revealing a light blue paint. “Holy shit! I think the brown color is from cigarette smoke! This wall is painted light blue.”
“That’s disgusting!” I said. “Everyone that smokes should see this. If this is what happens to the walls, imagine what it does to your lungs!”
A few minutes later, Wade ripped the drywall off the wall in the hallway between the bedrooms. “Ugh! If you think the bedrooms are bad, you’ve got to see this!”
When Wade stepped on the drywall, it squished underneath his boot and liquid oozed out.
“What is that?
“I think it’s urine. I bet they let their dogs piss on the walls. We’re going to have to rip all this drywall out.” We ended up gutting the house down to the studs.
Wade and I were hanging new drywall while listening to the radio. The DJ announced romantic hotel packages for people trying to conceive the first New Millenium baby.
I nudged Wade. “Did you hear that?”
“Yeah, I did.” He sighed. “I know you wanted to have a baby next year, but honey, I don’t think we’re going to be ready yet.”
“I know.” I sighed. We still had a couple of years left of school and as I looked around at the little house with its new floorboards, bare studs, and drywall that still needed to be hung, I shook my head. “We definitely can’t bring a baby into this mess. Why didn’t we go to college full-time a little sooner?”
“Because we got caught up thinking we were making good money for our age while our friends were still broke in school. And to be honest, we couldn’t afford it, but look around. We’ll catch up. We’re building the life we’ve always dreamed of, it’s just going to take us a little longer to get there.”
In April of 1999, Brandi had a beautiful baby girl. I called her and her husband, Justin, while they were still at the hospital. “Congratulations! I wish we lived closer so I could come up and see you guys!”
Brandi and Justin lived in Michigan and we were hundreds of miles away in Kansas City. I imagined her holding her newborn baby girl.
“Oh, Nicci, you think you know what love is.” Brandi said. I could hear the tears in her voice. “You think you love your family and your husband, but honestly, you have no idea what love is until you hold your baby for the first time. My heart is just so…it’s overflowing right now. I can’t even describe it.”
My eyes filled with tears. “Aww…I wish I could be there. I love you. I’m so happy for you guys.”
“Love you too,” Brandi said. “I can’t wait for you to meet her.”
Wade and I had both graduated from college, our little fixer-upper won a beautification award, and we were able to sell the house for a nice profit. We packed up everything we owned into the back of a U-Haul and moved home to Michigan.
Wade held my hand and promised. “As soon as we secure jobs and a new house, we can get started on our family.” Wade’s family was in northwestern Michigan and most of my family lived in the southeastern part of the state. It was a race to see who landed a job first.
Wade won. He got a job in July as the manager of Sunset Shores Resort, a new lakefront fractional-ownership development in Cadillac, Michigan. Included in his compensation package was a three-bedroom, two-bath condo at the resort.
As we drove by the resort, Wade asked, “Can you believe we are going to be living here? I never thought we’d be in this kind of a position already.”
“I know!” I clapped my hands. “ I’m so excited! We are going to be living on the lake. This is bucket list kind of living!”
The day before school started, I finally got a job teaching first grade in Grayling. Grayling was little over sixty miles away from the resort, but I was just so happy and thankful to finally be teaching and have my own classroom, I didn’t care. Besides, my yellow VW Bug used diesel fuel and got phenomenal gas mileage.
“It’s a long drive,” I said, “but I’ll just get some audiobooks from the library.”
Wade gave me a hug and laughed. “Sounds good. With an hour commute each way, you’ll be well read by Christmas!”
“And…” I smiled teasingly, as I led him to the bedroom, “if we start our family now, we’ll be due in June or July. I’ll have the whole summer to spend with the baby before school starts back up!”
“Sounds like a good plan to me,” Wade said, smiling.
As we were lying in bed, I asked, “How many kids do you want?”
“Two,” Wade said.
I played with Wade’s chest hair and bit my lip. “I was thinking more like six.”
“Six? That’s a lot.” Wade sat up and looked me in the eyes. “Seriously, think about it. Everything is designed for a family of four, restaurants, hotels, most homes, this condo…”
As Wade was talking, I knew he was right. The world was set up for a family of four.
“Besides,” Wade lay back down and put his hands behind his head, “kids are expensive and I want to be able to take my kids on a vacation to places like Disney World. We’ll never be able to afford that with six kids.”
Both of us grew up with single mothers with no money left over for luxuries like vacations. Neither one of us had been to Disney World, though it was on our bucket list. Our only real vacation was our honeymoon trip to San Diego, but we wouldn’t have even been able to do that had Wade not won employee of the year got the free airline tickets and the discount on the hotel through his work.
I smiled and kissed him. “All right, two kids it is then.”